There’s a new trend among the privileged (and not so privileged) of our society. A large number of busy Americans and Canadians have outsourced their lives. They’re paying for the kind of services normally done by themselves, family, or neighbors. A growing number of entrepreneurs are making a living doing offbeat jobs for those who can’t or won’t do it for themselves. Fiverr is one of the most popular web sites that is a marketplace for services from $5 to $150.
Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, comments on how things have changed: “We’re in a new era. We’re moving into an everything-for-sale society in which we increasingly apply a commercial mindset to personal life. There’s a growth in the market way of thinking. The market itself is a bigger deal than it used to be. We have had services in the past, but not to this degree. There didn’t use to be proposal planners or ‘Rent-a-friend.’ This has all flipped over on us so fast, within a generation.”
---Standing in line for 18 hours for someone to buy a $30 ticket. Charge: $200.
---Packing and unpacking for someone when they move.
---Dropping off and picking up dry cleaning.
---Organizing cupboards and closets.
---Organizing and renaming computer documents for chaotic desktops.
---Walking the dog and scooping his poop.
---Program the remote.
---Assemble the Ikea furniture.
---Changing hard-to-reach light bulbs.
---Scattering ashes or putting flowers on graves.
---Putting together a photo album
---Having a baby.
---Visiting the parents in the senior’s home.
---Organizing the kid’s birthday party.
---Returning unwanted merchandise.
---Organizing and paying the bills.
---Choosing paint colors and wallpaper designs.
---Cooking time-consuming gourmet meals.
---Decorating the home.
---Taking the dog or cat to the vet.
---Baby-proofing the home.
---Training the dog.
---Selecting a complete wardrobe.
---De-clutter and reorganize the garage.
---Plan a complete nutritious menu.
---Shovelling the snow.
---Cleaning the yard.
---Taking the car to get it serviced.
---Washing the windows.
---Wash and iron the clothes.
---Clean the fish tank.
Cathy Gulli, “Life With Help”, Maclean’s, May 21, 2012
Photo: PictureYouth (flickr)